The answer to Britain’s pothole woes? Council rolls out AI robot which detects defects in the road and fills t – Daily Mail

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  • ARRES  had its first successful outing filling cracks with tar in Hertfordshire 
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A ‘revolutionary’ new AI robot has been deployed on British roads in a world first to prevent the formation of potholes.

The Autonomous Road Repair System (ARRES) spent its first-ever successful outing filling cracks in the roads of Hertfordshire with tar.

Officially named ARRES PREVENT, it uses artificial intelligence (AI) to detect defects in the road and fill them in before they form potholes, saving time and money as well as endless irritation to drivers.

The droid, which uses state-of-the-art imaging technology, is the creation of tech company Robotiz3d and academics from the University of Liverpool, in collaboration with highways engineers at Hertfordshire County Council (HCC).

The council shared video footage of the robot in action, saying it had passed its test run at Potters Bar, north of London, with ‘flying colours’.

The The Autonomous Road Repair System (ARRES) uses AI to detect road defects and fills cracks with tar before potholes form

The cutting edge technology had its first outing repairing streets in Hertfordshire

It marks the first time the prototype has been used outside of the lab since development began nearly four years ago.

HCC says they’re trialling new techniques after fixing more than 40,000 potholes this year alone, and claim the robots will ‘revolutionise’ how countries across the world combat the pothole problem.

Councillor Reena Ranger, the Deputy Executive Member for Highways at HCC, said: ‘The test is another step in the right direction towards solving the pothole problem this country faces.

‘We’re committed to maintaining our road network so that it remains one of the best in the country.

‘We’re excited for the time we can welcome PREVENT officially to our team.’

Footage of the robot in action shows how it uses its hanging arm to dispense tar into cracks it detects in the road.

Anthony Browne, the Conservative MP for South Cambridgeshire, believes the robots could be invaluable in saving both time and money for councils across the world.

The Minister for Technology and Decarbonisation said: ‘This innovative technology has the potential to transform how we perform road maintenance and enhance the driver experience across Hertfordshire and beyond.

‘It is said a stitch in time saves nine, and that prevention is better than cure – and likewise stopping cracks from growing into potholes could save a lot of future maintenance work.’

The device scans the road and detects cracks and imperfections and identifies which need to be filled

The system will undergo further trials to refine the technology, and work is underway on a larger vehicle capable of fixing a wider range of defects

The government helped fund the development by Robotiz3d with over £30,000 from the Transport Research and Innovation Grants.

The ARRES PREVENT is now set to undergo further trials to refine the vehicle ahead of full production of the robot alongside work on a larger version of the machine capable of fixing a wider range of defects.

Sebastiano Fichera, the co-founder and technical director of Robotiz3d, said: ‘We’ve developed a system that prevents potholes. It does this through scanning the road detecting the cracks and through a bit of artificial intelligence, identifying which one needs to be filled. 

‘By filling out the cracks it prevents water ingress and this prevents in turn the pothole to appear.’

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